The Leach Report Weekdays, 8-9a
The Leach Report Weekdays, 8-9a
The Leach Report Weekdays, 8-9a
The Morning Tip-off with Michael Bennett weekdays 7-8
The Morning Tip-off with Michael Bennett weekdays 7-8
The Morning Tip-off with Michael Bennett weekdays 7-8
Kentucky Sports Radio, Weekdays, 9-11a
Kentucky Sports Radio, Weekdays, 9-11a
Kentucky Sports Radio, Weekdays, 9-11a
Thanks Jeff, for the last 5 years!
Thanks Jeff, for the last 5 years!
Thanks Jeff, for the last 5 years!
The Dan Patrick Show, Weekdays 11a-2p
The Dan Patrick Show,  Weekdays 11a-2p
The Dan Patrick Show,  Weekdays 11a-2p
Here are Wednesday's Regional Tournament scores featuring local teams.

Boys Soccer

2nd Region Tournament
Henderson County 9, Trigg County 0
Hopkinsville 6, Madisonville 0

Girls Soccer

1st Region Championship
Marshall County 2, Graves County 1

2nd Region Tournament
Henderson County 4, Madisonville 2
UHA 8, Caldwell County 1

Volleyball

1st Region Tournament
McCracken County 3, Ballard Memorial 0 (25-5, 25-14, 25-6)
Graves County 3, Christian Fellowship 2 (17-25, 27-25, 15-25, 25-21, 15-6)

2nd Region Tournament
UHA 3, Hopkins County Central 0 (25-22, 22-15, 25-21)
Henderson County 3, Caldwell County 1 (17-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-19)
Kentucky's PJ Washington says coach John Calipari has "chilled out" at practice leading up to the season.

It doesn't take as much yelling from coaches when you have a little seasoning and maturity on the roster, qualities that the Wildcats and other top Southeastern Conference teams are banking on to match — or even better — the league's strong 2017-18 season. Calipari says he hasn't had to raise his voice yet in practice.

"Last year it was pretty much every day but this year he's kind of chilled out a little bit," Washington said Wednesday at SEC media day. "We have experience obviously."

Seriously? No yelling?

"I'm shocked, too," Washington said. "He's usually screaming every five seconds. Now, he's just stopping practice and trying to teach young guys what to do."

It helps when they're not all young guys. Stanford grad transfer Reid Travis , a two-time All-Pac-12 performer, brought a wealth of experience to the lineup.

There are plenty of highly touted freshmen in Lexington and around the league, of course. But a number of standouts returned, too, including reigning SEC player of the year Grant Williams at Tennessee, Arkansas' Daniel Gafford, Auburn's Jared Harper, Florida's Jalen Hudson and LSU's Tremont Waters.

The SEC proved its back as a basketball power last season, sending a record eight teams to the NCAA Tournament. Optimism abounds again going into this season, with coaches not being shy about trumpeting the league's strength.

"The league top to bottom has probably never been stronger," Calipari said. "Top-heavy, too. Crazy."

Added Mississippi State's Ben Howland: "I can't say enough about our league. This league is going to be so good this year. As good as it was last year, this year's group is going to be even better."

LSU coach Will Wade said last year there were a number of good teams, and now there are some that can be "elite."

Plenty of players explored entering the NBA draft after last season but opted to return.

Tennessee and Auburn shared the SEC regular season title and return most of their top players. The Volunteers return all five starters and are led by Williams and senior Admiral Schofield. That experience prompts Howland to proclaim: "There's no doubt they're the team to beat in our conference."

Auburn lost leading scorer Mustapha Heron, who transferred to St. John's. Harper and Bryce Brown returned while center Austin Wiley and forward Danjel Purifoy are back after being ineligible last season.

"Austin is as big, as strong, as fast and as mobile as any big guy in the country," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl, whose team is no longer undersized.

Wiley is recovering from a foot injury that could sideline him early in the season. Purifoy is still ineligible for the first nine games.

The Tigers snapped a 15-year NCAA Tournament drought last season.

Then there's Kentucky. Washington, Quade Green and Nick Richards are among the returnees.

Travis is the Wildcats' only preseason first-team All-SEC pick.

The Wildcats are the preseason league favorites — as usual. But teams like Tennessee and Auburn are potential preseason top 10 teams, too.

For all the returning veterans, there's also a strong wave of incoming talent.

Kentucky brought in the nation's No. 2 recruiting class with four five-star recruits, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

LSU was ranked No. 4, led by five-star forwards Nazreon Reid and Emmitt Williams, and teams like Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Florida also had highly rated classes. The Gators (Andrew Nembhard) and Commodores (Darius Garland) both signed five-star point guards.

"I think we have some really good incoming freshmen and I think we have some terrific veterans that have had a big impact on the league," Calipari said. "The teams that won the league last year have most of their players back.

"We finally have a couple of returning players. It's been awhile."


Kentucky senior linebacker Josh Allen, junior running back Benny Snell Jr., senior offensive guard Bunchy Stallings and senior safety Darius West have earned midseason All-America honors from various media outlets this week.

Allen, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound linebacker from Montclair, New Jersey, has earned first-team honors from the Associated Press, ESPN.com, Pro Football Focus and The Athletic. In six games, he had totaled 37 tackles for the Wildcats and currently leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks 10th nationally in tackles for losses with 10.5. He also is among the nation's leaders in sacks with six. His 20.5 career sacks ranks third on the UK's career list.

Allen has been named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week three times, the most recent after recording eight tackles, four tackles for loss (-19), including a career-best three quarterback sacks (-17), one fumble caused and one quarterback hurry in the win over South Carolina.

Snell, a 5-11, 223-pound running back of Westerville, Ohio, earned second-team honors from the AP and The Athletic after rushing for 699 yards and scoring eight rushing touchdowns in the first half of the season. Snell leads the SEC and ranks ninth nationally in rushing yards per game (116.5) and is tied for second in the league and seventh nationally in rushing TDs (eight). He also ranks in the SEC's top three in all-purpose yards per game (124.3), total rushing yards (699), and rushing TDs per game (1.3).

With 3,123 career rushing yards, Snell is just the third player in school history with 3,000 or more rushing yards, joining Sonny Collins and Moe Williams. He scored a school-record 40 career touchdowns in just 31 games, becoming the second-fastest player in SEC history to accomplish that feat.

Stallings, a 6-3, 305-pound guard from McComb, Mississippi, has helped the Wildcats rush for 223.5 yards per game, which ranks third in the SEC and 26th nationally. He has been named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after wins over No. 25 Florida and No. 14 Mississippi State and was named a second-team midseason All-American by ESPN and The Athletic.

Darius West, a native Lima, Ohio, was a second-team midseason All-America choice by The Athletic as the 6-2, 210-pound safety leads No. 14/17 Kentucky in tackles (47),  interceptions (3) and pass breakups (five). His three interceptions, all against SEC opponents, ranks ninth nationally and ties for the league lead. West is coming off a magnificent game vs. Texas A&M, where he scored a touchdown on a 40-yard fumble return, grabbed an interception, and led the Wildcats with 10 tackles.

The college football season is heating up and this year's American Heart Association (AHA) Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards Watch List includes a who's who lineup of new faces and old favorites. Representing the nation's best in college football, these coaches will compete for the highly-coveted and final title of the season: the 2018 Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year. The winner will be announced live on Jan. 9, 2019 during the awards dinner and ceremony at the Post Oak Hotel in Houston.

Mark Stoops has led Kentucky to a 5-1 record this season and the team's first national rankings (currently No. 14 AP, No. 17 Coaches) since the 2007 season.  The Wildcats are 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference, one-half game behind Florida and Georgia (each 4-1) in the SEC Eastern Division.  UK was the Reveal Suits National Team of the Week, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America, following the 27-16 win at Florida that ended the 31-game losing streak vs. the Gators.

The 20 coaches on this year's Watch List are (in alphabetical order):

Bill Clark, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Mario Cristobal, University of Oregon

Dave Doeren, North Carolina State University

Luke Fickell, University of Cincinnati

Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M University

Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan

Tom Herman, The University of Texas

Josh Heupel, University of Central Florida

Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia University

Brian Kelly, University of Notre Dame

Seth Littrell, University of North Texas

Mike MacIntyre, University of Colorado

Dan Mullen, University of Florida

Ed Orgeron, Louisiana State University

Lincoln Riley, University of Oklahoma

Nick Saban, The University of Alabama

Kirby Smart, The University of Georgia

Dabo Swinney, Clemson University

Mark Stoops, University of Kentucky

Charlie Strong, University of South Florida

The Watch List precedes the announcement of the finalists in December. These coaches are invited to the Bryant Awards in Houston to find out who will be the 2018 Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year.

Now in its 33rd year, the award recognizes the country's top college football coaches for their contributions both on and off the field. The Coach of the Year Award is the only college coaching honor selected after all bowl games are concluded and is voted on by the National Sports Media Association. Last year's winner, University of Central Florida's Scott Frost (now at Nebraska), led his team to a conference record of 8 wins and zero losses, an overall record of 13 wins and zero losses, ending the season with a 34 to 27 win over Auburn in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. He was also named the American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

Behind the scenes, the award is much bigger than a season's success. It is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on heart disease and stroke – the nation's no. 1 and no. 5 health threats. Since the adoption of the name, the Bryant Awards have raised over $8.5 Million for the American Heart Association, funding research, education and advocacy efforts and saving countless lives.  "Bear" always talked about being bigger than something other than himself. The Bryant Awards offer an opportunity to do just that — to join the American Heart Association in the fight against heart disease and stroke and help save lives.

Once again this year, sports aficionados can enjoy the Bryant Awards live on FOX College Sports – available through most cable providers. Fans can follow the Watch List coaches, track progress of the awards and be the among the first to know made the finalist list at facebook.com/bryantawards.

Kentucky men's basketball freshman guard Keldon Johnson is the second Wildcat in as many days to earn a spot on a preseason list for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's positional awards. Johnson is among 20 candidates for the 2019 Julius Erving Award, which honors the nation's best small forward.

Johnson joins Tyler Herro, who was named to the early-season list for the Jerry West Award on Tuesday. 

Johnson is one of six freshmen on the preseason list, and he is one of only two players from the Southeastern Conference. Joining Johnson from the league is Tennessee's senior Admiral Schofield.

Named after Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving, this year's award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in April.  No Kentucky player has won the award since its inception in 2015.

A 6-foot-6 guard, Johnson is a two-way player with a high motor who can score the ball in a variety of ways while also taking pride in his defensive play. During the Bahamas exhibition tour, he averaged 13.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while starting all four games. He topped 11 points in every game, while shooting 52.5 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from long range. He had a 16-point effort on 87.5 percent shooting against Mega Bemax.

A native of South Hill, Virginia, Johnson spent his final season of high school basketball with Oak Hill Academy. He led the team in scoring at 22.1 points per game and also contributed 6.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. He led his Boo Williams (Va.) AAU team to the semifinals of the Peach Jam after averaging 20.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during the Nike regular season.

By mid-February, the watch list will be trimmed to just 10 players. Five finalists will be revealed in March with the winner being announced during the annual ESPN College Basketball Awards show on April 12.